Storm prep: Picking and packing your paperwork
Hurricane season is upon us. Though building your disaster preparedness kit before a storm arrives is essential, we know it can be a daunting task. We’ll help you get it together, by breaking down the process into simple, little steps you can take each day. Today, we’ll look at the pesky, though all-important, paperwork. Other blog posts to come will focus on preparing a food/water plan, and steps to assuring food safety, among other topics.
As we note in our “Hurricane Preparedness” class, getting your disaster kit in order has to include taking time to gather and safeguard important documents. These include drivers’ licenses, insurance policies, birth certificates and more. Think about any document that will be time-consuming, difficult or costly to replace, or those that will be critical before, perhaps during and certainly after a storm (hint: a driver’s license).
Now, don’t stop there.
You also will want to “create” some documents. That is, inventory your home’s contents and precious belongings by taking pictures or videos of items. And itemize those possessions with a list that includes the date and cost of purchase, and model and serial numbers, where available.
Most of your documents, you should store in a safe deposit box, fire/waterproof box or other place safe from the ravages of a natural disaster. These include:
- Inventory of home possessions, photos
- Insurance policy along with agent name and contact information
- List of bank account numbers and credit card numbers
- Birth certificates, citizenship papers, passports
- Wills, military records
- Deeds, titles, leases
- Pay stub to apply for unemployment if workplace is destroyed
- Appraisals for artwork, jewelry, etc.
Other documents, you’ll need to keep on or near you, for ready access. These include:
- Driver’s licenses, photo identification and social security card
- Personal identification
- Identification of relative or close friend
- Medical information
- Doctor’s names and contact information as well as pharmacy numbers
- Money, as ready cash and/or travelers checks
- If traveling with pets, contact information for the veterinarian
Preparing for a weather disaster takes a lot of planning and time… and patience. Keeping your eyes on the big picture – why you are making the kit – helps keep you moving. And tackling a little something on your list each day also can help make a big job seem smaller.
Remember, you need to be ready BEFORE disaster strikes.